1. Where would you rank Matt Ryan among the top quarterbacks in the league?
This is a polarizing question, even among some Falcons fans. Last season Ryan produced at close to a Top 5 level in the regular season and enjoyed one quality post-season game (Seahawks) and one excellent one (49ers), but certainly he is spoiled by the quality of his weapons. Even considering that, his arm, his decision-making and his ability to perform under pressure make him one of the best in the league.
At this point, I'd place him behind only Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, and Drew Brees, acknowledging that with another season or two of quality play we're going to need to include Robert Griffin, Russell Wilson and Colin Kaepernick, at the very least.
2. Tell me how much you love Julio Jones.
Mere words cannot express my love of Julio Jones. Julio Jones is a view of the sunset from the top of a mountain. He is the cool breeze on a 100 degree day. He is a plate of nachos when you are starving. <3, and stuff.
3. The NFC is really tough. Do you see the Falcons making another trip to the NFC Championship game?
I can see it happening, but I don't know that I'd predict it. There are so many good teams this year, many of them young and balanced, that picking one definitively seems like a fool's errand.
What I do know is that the Falcons are offensively supercharged and have an opportunistic defense to go with it, so they've got a real chance. The biggest challenge will be not frittering away major leads and doing better on short third downs, a chronic Achilles heel that Steven Jackson may solve.
4. Tell us one player to look out for Saturday night that we have never heard of.
Paul Worrilow. The undrafted free agent linebacker has been solid in coverage and very good everywhere else, racking up over a dozen tackles, forcing a fumble (later called back, unfortunately) and coming up with a sack. He's making a strong case to dent the Falcons' weak linebacking corps, and with another quality performance against you guys, he's got a spot sewn up. Watch out for him.
5. Do you think Tony Gonzalez has one more really good season in him? Is this his last no matter what?
I think he'll ride off into the sunset after this season, and I expect him to continue to play at an extremely high level. Tony Gonzalez keeps himself in inhuman shape every year, there's still plenty of red zone and middle-of-the-field targets heading his way and he's got the most reliable hands in the business. Look for him to put up 70/700/6 or more for a slash line and then head into a very successful broadcasting career.